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Hardware

LEDSpicer Is An Open Source Light Controller For Your Arcade Machine

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

The project came about when [Patricio] was working on his Linux-based MAME cabinet, and realised there were limited software options to control his Ultimarc LED board. As the existing solutions lacked features, it was time to get coding.

LEDSpicer runs on Linux only, and requires compilation, but that’s not a huge hurdle for the average MAME fanatic. It comes with a wide variety of animations, as well as tools for creating attract modes and managing LEDs during gameplay. There are even audio-reactive modes available for your gaming pleasure. It’s open source too, so it’s easy to tinker with if there’s something you’d like to add yourself.

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Wind River pumps new beans into embedded Linux

Filed under
OS
Linux
Hardware

It’s hard to know whether to pronounce software infrastructure company Wind River as wind (as in eaten too many beans, that thing that makes sails billow out) or wind (as in snakey, twisty) river.

It looks like its wind as in breezy mistrals on this link, so let’s go with that.

Whether it be winding or breezy, the company has this month updated its Wind River Linux with a release focused on ease of adoption of containers in embedded systems.

How do you make containers adoption easier? We’re glad you asked.

It’s all about offering pre-built containers, tools and documentation as well as support for frameworks such as Docker and Kubernetes.

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Open Hardware: X-FAB RISC-V Microcontroller

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
  • X-FAB Silicon Foundries tapes-out open-source RISC-V MCU

    Together with crowd-sourcing IC platform partner Efabless Corporation, X-FAB Silicon Foundries has announced the first-silicon availability of the Efabless RISC-V System on Chip (SoC) reference design.

    This open-source semiconductor project went from design start to tape-out in less than three months using the Efabless design flow based on open-source tools. The mixed-signal SoC, called Raven, is based on the community developed ultra-low power PicoRV32 RISC-V core. Efabless has bench-tested the Raven at 100MHz, and based on simulations the design should be able to operate at up to 150MHz.

    The open-source top-level design uses X-FAB proprietary analog IP and is created with an open-source design flow. This hybrid open-source design brings the power of open innovation and at the same time protecting significant investment in proprietary IP.

  • X-FAB and Efabless Announce Successful First Silicon of Raven, An Open-Source RISC-V Microcontroller

    X-FAB Silicon Foundries, the leading analog/mixed-signal and specialty foundry, together with crowd-sourcing IC platform partner Efabless Corporation, today announced the successful first-silicon availability of the Efabless RISC-V System on Chip (SoC) reference design. This open-source semiconductor project went from design start to tape-out in less than three months using the Efabless design flow based on open-source tools. The mixed-signal SoC, called Raven, is based on the community developed ultra-low power PicoRV32 RISC-V core. Efabless has successfully bench-tested the Raven at 100MHz, and based on simulations the design should be able to operate at up to 150MHz.

  • X-FAB and Efabless Deliver Open Source Mixed-Signal SoC

    Mixed signal foundry X-FAB Silicon Foundries and crowd-sourcing IC platform Efabless Corp. have announced silicon availability of a RISC-V based mixed signal system-on-chip (SoC) reference design. The open-source semiconductor project went from design start to tape-out in less than three months using the Efabless design flow based on open-source tools.

  • X-Fab and Efabless announce Raven open-source RISC-V microcontroller

    X-Fab Silicon Foundries, an analog/mixed-signal and specialty foundry, and crowd-sourcing IC platform partner Efabless, has announced the silicon availability of the Efabless RISC-V system on chip (SoC) reference design. This open-source semiconductor project went from design start to tape-out in less than three months using the Efabless design flow based on open-source tools, they said.

    The mixed-signal SoC, called Raven, is based on the community developed ultra-low power PicoRV32 RISC-V core. Efabless has successfully bench-tested the Raven at 100MHz, and based on simulations the design should be able to operate at up to 150MHz, they added.

Linux Devices: Librem, NGD and Commell SBCs

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Hardware
  • Todd Weaver on Digital Trends Live

    I have just had a wonderful conversation with Greg Nibler, from Digital Trends Live, about all kinds of different ways these issues are being tackled. Greg started by asking me to introduce Purism, and why we do what we do.

    Well, we started around 2014 as a Social Purpose Company: we advance social good over maximizing profit. We build laptops, a secure token called a Librem Key, and we are also coming out with the Librem 5: a smartphone that doesn’t run on Android nor IOS, but our own operating system PureOS (the same you get on our laptops). These are available today, with the Librem 5 phone (on pre-order now) coming out in Q3 of this year. Our services—chat, email, social media, VPN—are all standardized protocols, decentralized, with no data retention and end-to-end encrypted. We are going to continue to put out more and more hardware, software, and services as we progress.

    I’m kind of a hardcore geek, both in the hardware and software side—but I also am a digital rights activist, making Purism my dream come true by combining hardware, software and services together, in one convenient package. What is awesome is that our entire team is excited about the exact same thing: making convenient products that respect people. Hardware is a little bit more security-minded and privacy-focused, it is where the hardcore audience is: it really gets down to a trust and verified model. The same happens with software: it all needs to be released.

  • What's up with computational storage

    The advantage of this approach is that the processor can run a standard operating system (Ubuntu Linux), and allows any software that runs on Ubuntu to be used for in situ computing in NGD’s drives. The drive itself can also be used as a standard SSD.

  • Up to 4.3GHz, hexa-core Coffee Lake-H on tap in new 3.5-inch SBC

    Like the earlier Commell SBCs, the LE-37M is accompanied by Windows drivers, but Linux support is mentioned in the manual. The LE-37M is designed for imaging, machine vision, infotainment, medical, and gaming machine applications.

Banana Pi M4 launches for $38 with M.2, 40-pin, and PoE

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

SinoVoip has launched its previously revealed “Banana Pi BPI-M4” SBC for $38. The Raspberry Pi-like board runs Linux on a quad -A53 Realtek RTD1395 and offers HDMI, M.2, WiFi/BT, 40-pin GPIO, PoE, and 5x USB ports.

When SinoVoip announced its Banana Pi BPI-M4 in February, it suggested the board would be coming soon. As it turned out, four months have passed, but the BPI-M4 is now available for $38 with 1GB RAM and 8GB eMMC on AliExpress.

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Also: Mini Type 10 and Compact Type 6 modules tap Apollo Lake

Hardware: Raspberry Pi or Arduino, Congatec and POWER9

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • 5 of the Best IoT Hardware for Your Next IoT Project

    We have been exploring IoT projects based on either Raspberry Pi or Arduino. A major difference between the two is that the former is a single-board computer (SBC), whereas the latter runs on a single-board microcontroller.

    However, that is not all there is about IoT boards. Depending on your project, you might have additional needs of power, performance, applications, number of GPIOs, peripherals such as audio/video support and expansion.

    While both Raspberry Pi and Arduino were early movers, there are scores of powerful boards that are coming on the scene. The following are some of the best IoT hardware for your next IoT project.

  • Linux-friendly Whiskey Lake-UE boards feature up to 15-year availability

    Congatec has launched a “Conga-TC370” COM Express Type 6 and two SBCs — the 3.5-inch “Conga-JC370” and thin Mini-ITX “Conga-IC370” — with new embedded “UE” 8th Gen chips with 10-year plus availability.

    At Embedded World in early March, Congatec unveiled 3.5-inch Conga-JC370 and thin Mini-ITX Conga-IC370 SBCs with Intel’s 8th Gen Whiskey Lake U-series processors. Now, the German embedded firm has announced their availability along with a new Conga-TC370 COM Express Compact Type 6 module. The Linux-friendly boards sport Intel’s new embedded-focused UE versions of the chips, featuring 10-year plus availability.

  • The Speculative Execution Impact For A 4-Core POWER9 Blackbird Desktop

    Last year we looked at the Spectre mitigation cost on POWER9 using the high-end Talos II server while now several kernel releases later and also having the desktop Blackbird system in our lab, here is a look at how the Spectre/Meltdown mitigation impact is for an IBM POWER9 4-core processor running Ubuntu 19.04.

Tiny Snapdragon 820E module boasts long lifecycle support

Filed under
Android
Linux
Hardware
Debian

Intrinsyc’s $259 “Open-Q 820Pro μSOM” module runs Android 9 or Debian Linux on a quad-core, up to 2.34GHz Snapdragon 820E and offers long lifecycles, 4GB LPDDR4, 32GB flash, WiFi-ac, and an optional $499 dev kit.

The Open-Q 820Pro μSOM is a pin-compatible drop-in replacement for the two-year old Open-Q 820 µSOM and offers a similar layout and 50 x 25mm footprint. The biggest difference is an upgrade from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 to the faster, second-gen Snapdragon 820E, an embedded-focused version with long lifecycle support. As a result, the Open-Q 820Pro μSOM has a 9 percent faster CPU and 5 percent faster GPU at the same power consumption, claims Intrinsyc.

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Wind River Linux adds Docker and Kubernetes support for the edge

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OS
Hardware

The latest version of Wind River Linux debuts an “OverC” container stack that eases integration of frameworks such as Docker and Kubernetes on edge devices. The Yocto-based embedded distro is available in open source and commercial versions.

When reading about the latest, container-friendly version of the market-leading commercial Wind River Linux distribution, we were struck by the mention of an open source version of the commercial distro available for download on GitHub. We wondered if this was a new development after Intel sold off Wind River to investment firm TPG last year, but a Wind River spokesperson informed us that the open source version has been available since 2017.

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Also: Skylake box PC has 6x GbE with optional PoE and Myriad X support

Where Open Hardware Is Today

Filed under
Hardware
OSS

Open hardware could not exist without the prior success of FOSS. It has been twenty years since the Dot.com era, when FOSS was an untried idea. Since then, other groups based on the ideals and practices of FOSS, have grown into successful semi-independent communities of their own, such as OpenAccess and OpenStack. FOSS ideals no longer have to be proved, so open hardware does not need to be defended, either.

If anything, open hardware has gone on to have its own successes. Like FOSS before it, open hardware has an affinity with academia, where the exchange of ideas is a norm analogous to copyleft licenses. When academics venture into manufacturing, they are likely to organize under the same principles.

FOSS-based ideals are especially common in non-profits. Probably one of the biggest successes for open hardware is in the field of aesthetics. A traditionally constructed artificial hand costs upwards of $30,000. That price is beyond the reach of many families in a developing nation like India, where the average family income is about $21,000. By contrast, a custom-made artificial hand is sold by an open-hardware company like Open Bionics for $400. Although the cost of an open hardware hand is still high by the standards of developing nations, it is at least within reach, especially with charity. It also means, of course, that seventy-five open hardware hands can be made for the price of one proprietary one. Building on FOSS, open hardware has gone on to prove its own practicality.

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Open Hardware/Modding: ERASynth, REFLO Air, RISC-V and AbilityLab

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
  • ERASynth Micro affordable USB open source RF signal generator

    Access to an RF signal generator can sometimes be a little tricky for electronic enthusiasts and developers due to the cost implications. ERA Instruments is hoping to change this with the launch of their affordable open source RF signal generator in the form of the ERASynth Micro. RF signal generators are normally expensive pieces of test equipment mainly used by professional engineers. The ERASynth Micro has been specifically designed for makers to remove the cost implications and provide a quality RF signal synthesis accessible to everyone.

  • REFLO Air open source, smart PCB reflow machine

    Electronic enthusiasts searching for a new compact open source Smart PCB reflow machine may be interested in a new device created by the team at MagicBox, called the REFLO Air. Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the heater system housed in a compact enclosure and now available to back via the Crowd Supply website with earlybird pledges available from $199 and worldwide shipping expected to take place towards the end of next month during July 2019.

  • Qualcomm backs open-source alternative to Arm, x86: Should Arm be worried?

    Consumer gadgets such as smart speakers, smartwatches, and smartphones generally use processors based on Intel’s x86 and Arm’s instruction sets. However, the open-source RISC-V instruction set is gaining prominence too, and industry bigwig Qualcomm has backed a company dealing with the technology.

    According to The Information (paywall), chip design company SiFive has raised $65.4 million as part of its latest funding round. This funding round includes an investment from Qualcomm, and sees the San Diego giant join the likes of Intel and Samsung as investors in the firm. So what makes SiFive and RISC-V so special?

  • Qualcomm backs Sifive, open source alternative to ARM

    ARM’s been in the news more and more lately. They are after all one of the leaders when it comes to processor instruction sets. Outside of Intel’s x86, we haven’t really seen any real competitor to ARM, at least until now. Sifive is a plucky startup that utilizes the open source RISC-V instruction set for their processors.

  • OpenHW Group Created and Announces CORE-V Family of Open-source Cores for Use in High Volume Production SoCs

    A new not-for-profit global organization aims to boost the adoption of open-source processors by providing a platform for collaboration, creating a focal point for ecosystem development, and offering open-source IP for processor cores.

  • Andes Technology Corp. Senior VP, Emerson Hsiao to Be Panelist for “Open Source ISAs – Will the IP Industry Find Commercial Success?” at DAC 2019 in Las Vegas

    Andes Technology Corporation, a founding member of the RISC-V Foundation and leading supplier of small, low-power, high performance 32/64-bit embedded CPU and next generation RISC-V cores, today announced that Senior VP, Andes Technology USA Corp., Emerson Hsiao will participate on the panel “Open Source ISAs – Will the IP Industry Find Commercial Success?” at DAC 2019 in Las Vegas.

  • Popcorn open source mini PC computers hit Kickstarter [Ed: What they mean by "open source" isn't quite that; more like modularity]

    Source Parts has taken to Kickstarter this week to launch two new open source mini PC computers in the form of the Original Popcorn and Super Popcorn. Super Popcorn and Super ‘8’ Popcorn share many of the same specifications. They only differ in the main processor.

  • An open-source AI bionic leg is the future of prosthetics

    Open-source projects to develop smart prosthetics for the upper body, such as hands, are well-established parts of the bionic landscape. Now, legs get to join the party, thanks to the efforts of scientists Levi Hargrove and Elliott Rouse at the University of Michigan and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.

    An open-source, artificially intelligent prosthetic leg was unveiled at Amazon’s Re:MARS conference in Las Vegas this afternoon (June 5) ahead of its release to the wider scientific community. It’s hoped that researchers and patients will work collaboratively to improve the leg, via its free-to-copy design and programming. (The current price to build it as specified is $28,500, including the Raspberry Pi that powers its AI; patients are not advised to see it as a “build-at-home solution.”)

  • Open-source bionic leg: First-of-its-kind platform aims to rapidly advance prosthetics

    A new open-source, artificially intelligent prosthetic leg designed by researchers at the University of Michigan and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is now available to the scientific community.

    The leg’s free-to-copy design and programming are intended to improve the quality of life of patients and accelerate scientific advances by offering a unified platform to fragmented research efforts across the field of bionics.

    “Our Open-Source Bionic Leg will enable investigators to efficiently solve challenges associated with controlling bionic legs across a range of activities in the lab and out in the community,” said lead designer Elliott Rouse, core faculty at U-M’s Robotics Institute and assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “In addition, we hope our bionic leg will unite researchers with a common hardware platform and enable new investigators from related fields to develop innovative control strategies.”

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